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2 students shot at Virginia high school; suspect in custody

Sara Gregory, Jessica Nolte, Peter Dujardin and Lisa Vernon Sparks, The Virginian-Pilot on

Published in News & Features

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Two teenagers were shot Monday morning at Heritage High School, sending hundreds of students running for safety.

The call to police came at 11:38 a.m., Newport News police Chief Steve Drew said. Police found two 17-year-old victims, a boy and a girl. Both are both expected to survive. The boy was shot on the side of his face and the girl was shot in her leg, he said.

Two others were taken to a local hospital — one with a sprained wrist and another who suffered an asthma attack as students fled.

The suspected shooter, whom police described as a juvenile, was arrested a few hours later away from the school, Drew said. Police haven’t said whether he’s a Heritage student or how he was apprehended.

State police, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were all at the school assisting Newport News police.

Investigators are still piecing together what happened but Drew said the three teens knew each other. Police recovered a gun at the scene and have found “key” evidence that Drew said he’s shared with Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn.


“I don’t want to tell you about motive right now until I get that shored up, but I don’t think this was an individual that just came here as some random act — the individuals knew each other and we’ll get to the reason why it happened,” Drew said.

The school went into lockdown immediately, following procedures that students and staff practice regularly, Superintendent George Parker said. As law enforcement swept through the building, they escorted students out to the school’s tennis courts. Word of the shooting spread quickly on social media, and families quickly began gathering outside the school, anxious to learn if their children were safe.

It took about two hours to complete the search, and police found some students who were continuing to shelter in place. Neighboring Achievable Dream Academy and some other area schools went into lockdowns as a precaution, a district spokeswoman said.

The scene was “chaotic” at times, Parker said, but he praised students and staff for how they handled the situation.


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